Lynn Hershman Leeson: Are Our Eyes Targets?
Lynn Hershman Leeson: Are Our Eyes Targets?

The Julia Stoschek Foundation is excited to present Lynn Hershman Leeson: Are Our Eyes Targets?, the first solo exhibition by the renowned artist and media pioneer in Düsseldorf. Spanning the entire second floor of the foundation, the exhibition features videos, photo-collages, and interactive and mixed-media installations that delve into the artist’s groundbreaking practice.

2024 marks the fortieth anniversary of the epic video installation, The Electronic Diaries of Lynn Hershman Leeson19842019 (1984–2019), which forms the centerpiece of the exhibition. Hershman Leeson examines her personal experiences of abuse and illness and the relationship between technology and self, amid the global political context. As the work shifts between time frames and perspectives, viewers encounter the evolution of multiple, sometimes contradictory personas that represent the artist. These slipping identities lead us to question how much of what we see on our screens is true, revealing a gap between reality and our mediated images of it. Set against the contemporary media landscape, Hershman Leeson’s work rings truer than ever. More here.

The exhibition Lynn Hershman Leeson: Are Our Eyes Targets? is curated by Lisa Long, Artistic Director of the Julia Stoschek Foundation, with the support of Line Ajan, Assistant Curator.

Digital Diaries
April 11, 2024–February 2, 2025, JSF Düsseldorf

Artists: Alex Ayed, Sophie Calle, Sophie Gogl, Rindon Johnson, Kristin Lucas, Sarah Lucas, Jota Mombaça, Hannah Perry, Frances Stark, Martine Syms, Wolfgang Tillmans, Tromarama, Hannah Wilke.

The group exhibition Digital Diaries looks at how artists have experimented with diaristic forms in video and digital art from the 1970s to today. Inspired by Lynn Hershman Leeson’s iconic work The Electronic Diaries of Lynn Hershman Leeson 1984–2019 (1984–2019), Digital Diaries gathers videos, photographs, video sculptures and mixed-media works that record artists’ intimate experiences. Placing works from the collection in dialogue with loaned pieces, the exhibition combines early videos by Sophie Calle and Hannah Wilke with contemporary works by Alex AyedJota MombaçaHannah Perry, and Tromarama, among others. 

Intertwining images and personal writing, these artists use storytelling and digital technologies to craft images of themselves and reveal their private lives. From self-portraiture and home videos to phone messages and chatroom conversations, the works move from the intimacy of daily life, as in a photograph by Wolfgang Tillmans and a video by Ken Okiishi, to a wider sociopolitical view, like in Rindon Johnson’s video. Drawing on the evolution of film, video, and photography, as well as on our communication tools, the artists reflect on the impact technologies have had on the construction and performance of gender and identity.


Looking at bodies and ecosystems through arts

The Sonic Acts Biennial 2024 started at the beginning of February, celebrating 30 years of artistic and interdisciplinary research with the theme ‘The Spell of Sensuous.’ With performances, exhibitions, club nights across Amsterdam and Zaandam, and a two-day symposium during the festival weekend, the Biennial closed at the end of March after two months of activities.

Between criticality and engagement, Sonic Acts is an interdisciplinary organisation exploring different modes of research and understandings through the lens of arts. Seeking the invisible intersections between humans, nature and technology, the Biennial’s theme takes inspiration by ecological thinker David Abram’s text ‘The Spell of Sensuous’ (1997). Different artworks and creative approaches unfold a multiplicity of ways to perceive our bodies and the world of non-humans as part of an interconnected flow. While Western conceptual frameworks often perceive body and mind, nature and technology, as separated entities, the rapid escalation of climate change and disruptive use of new technologies calls for a ground to investigate new paradigms including these unpredictable and hidden intersections. Exploring the role of art in these ongoing social and environmental transformations, the festival investigates how forms of expressions can respond differently to the complex world of non-humans.

Dividing the exhibition in two spaces in Amsterdam centre, the curatorial approach suggests a multiplicity of entry points to embrace the complex fluidity behind scientific data and numbers. Entering gallery W139, Harun Morrison’s speculative fiction work ‘The Telepathic Butterfly’ (2022-2024) tells the story of a butterfly able to escape the Lyceum taxonomy for centuries because of intraspecies telekinesis. Next to the collaborative work ‘Environmental Justice Questions,’ Morrison’s speculations question how scientific paradigms size reality and our understanding of the environment. Expanding the idea of ‘sensuous body,’ the Biennial encourages to re-think the intricate web of relations and intersections in a wider ecosystem.

In the same gallery space, Natasha Tontey’s ‘The epic of Mapalucene series’ (2021) zooms on the Indonesian Minahasa tribe to illustrate how different narratives and beliefs are deeply interwoven with past and current social structures. The tribe believes that the first person on Earth was a woman who gave birth through a stone. Following these mythologies, the economy of the tribe was based on gifts, voluntarism and mutual aid. After colonial times, the Minahasans’ economy evolved into a stone-based exchange system, combining their old traditions with the new colonialist and capitalistic system. The two video installations, one with loud headphones, is a hectic representation of this evolving reality, and the contradictions coming with it. Walking into the dark room upstairs, visitors could sit on a grass carpet to experience the mixing of sounds, colours and images from two screens. The experience of the work is almost overwhelming, representing how contradictory narratives create frictions while finding new synthesis in an ongoing transformation.

Moving between environmental and social criticalities, the exhibition invites us to look at the intersections of different cases rather than at their differences. Brackish Collective’s installation ‘Still Life of a Laid Table with Lecithin and Voice’ (2024) takes inspiration from a banketje, a popular painting style among Dutch middle-class merchants, to illustrate the impact of production, commodity and trade. Next to the installation, Pedro Matias’ ‘dépaysement’ (2023) invited the visitors to sit on glowing Coralia and Molluskulars to listen to digitally generated landscapes acting as subjectivities of micro and macros worlds, while Jota Mombaça’s video installation ’waterwill’ (2022) explores the impact of logistic and migration of our social fabric. In the middle of the space, Touche-Touche’ ’Senser,’ inspired by Christian distributors of incense, allows the visitors to touch the ceramic material and smell the scent coming from the installation, while Annika Kappner’s installation ‘ATER MUTI’ (2024) explores alternative futures through the the five elements, air, water, earth, fire, and aether. Next, the double screen ‘My Want of You Partakes of Me’ (2023) by Sasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner closes the exhibition interrogating the process of digestion as a fundamental condition for being in the world through multiple storylines.

Human and non-human bodies, visible or invisible, form a net of relations in constant metamorphosis and exchange, creating new dynamics in the ecological and socio-political ecosystem. Any body, not only the human body, is more than a singular unit and it is also influenced by, and impacting, others and the world. In Looiersgracht 60 gallery, the installation ‘Residue, colliding archives: Chapter 3’ by Elena Khurtova & Anika Schwarzlose explores these complex intersections zooming on the Hamburg weapons factory. Active from 1904 to 2003 in the Amsterdam neighbourhood Zaandam, the industrialised production still poisons the soil in the area as well as the factory’s weapons are still distributed in international conflicts. Starting from the intersection of history, material production, and land, the installation becomes an artistic historical artifact to explore what is left out of the main narrative. On the ground floor, artist and filmmaker Lukas Marxt researches the Salton Sea in South California to capture with different media the rapid change of the ecosystem after nuclear and weapon testing. As a result of this aggressive treatment, the land, now scouted for lithium mining, is predicted to become a dust bowl within the next 20 years. From an upscaled 18-pieces assembly kit of the Hyroshima atomic bomb, ‘Little Boy 1:1’ (2022), to the video-installation ‘Valley Pride’ (2023), Marxt’s works give an overview of the complex interactions between ecosystems and technological productions through time.

Entering the gallery, visitors could walk in the wooden box decorated by Laschulas Collective, ‘On Breath and Sound: Narrative Strategies for a Contaminating Composition’ (2022). Inside, a mixture of voices and sounds, as well as words on the wall, guide you into a meditative state. The wooden box is red, and people can sit on pillows almost forgetting the outside world. Walking out the wooden box, visitors could play with two other installations by Touche-Touche and produced by Chris Paxton. Rather than scent, ‘Fountains 01-02’ captures the audience with sound and vibration. Next, ‘Olibath’ is an interactive installation made of an engraved and slit open block of mattress foam, inviting visitors to sit and reflect on how the artificial world is deeply influencing the way we think and act. Through a diversity of media and conceptual research, the Biennial’s exhibitions suggest new ways to understand how bodies are interconnected and how mutually transform through time.

Alongside the exhibitions, the Biennial proposed a multiplicity of events, talks and performances. In The Listening Room at Zone2Source, visitors could discover newly commissioned work by artists such as Felicity Mangan, KMRU, Slikback, Galen Tipton, Hugo Esquinca & Russell Haswell, and Mint Park. In conduction, iconic recordings by artists and thinkers like Annea Lockwood, Hildegard Westerkamp or BJ Nilsen become part of an octophonic sound installation giving life to Sonic Acts’ archives. Among the new works, the sound installation Embedded/Embodied by Farzané explores sonic knowledge as a dynamic and evolving process. During the Festival, the 12-performance TRANCE is between a concert, an underground rave, an immersive theatre production, and a hypnotic cinematic experiment. By Asian Dope Boys director and contemporary artist Tianzhuo Chen, the evolving performance is a synthesis of the artist’s work. Presented in Paradiso by Sonic Acts and Hartwig Art Foundation, the multidisciplinary work captures the audience creating a surreal world responding to different rules. The audience and performers are filmed and streamed during the show, blurring the lines between viewers and artists. Evolving from a meditative collective dance to a concert and DJ set in the night, the hectic performance represents the festival’s intention of exploring different languages to open new perspectives. After TRANCE, ‘Expanded Experience’ invited the audience to a multi-sensory experience in Muziekgebouw. The six hours of concert and audio-visual screenings challenge the distinctions between image and sounds, proposing playful and cutting-edge explorations to engage the audience with alternative artistic practices.

During the festival, the two-day symposium delved into the question ‘what is more than human?’ exploring new ways to connect with the natural world. From writer Astrida Neimanis reflects on the feeling coming from the fear of climate change, to artist and researcher Adriana Knouf introducing Xenology as a flux of transformations to break Wester binary frameworks, the discussions touched upon several points to explore different conceptual frameworks including non-human bodies in the conversation. In combination, film screenings such as Sébastien Robert and Mark IJzerman’s Another Deep (Try-out), an immersive project that explores the impending deep-sea mining in the Svalbard region, or Susan Schuppli’ world premier’s Moving Ice, delving into European and American merchants’ routes for cargos to unveil less-known consequences of industrialisation in the 1800s.

The Biennial officially ended at the end of March with a series of participatory and interactive workshops. In the Zandaam centre Het HEM, the audience could listen to the story of the wind with Minji Kim, ride a bike becoming part of a participatory performance on the weather with Yeon Sung, exploring the area through sounds with Mint Park to create a collective composition, or walk around with Elena Khurtova and Anika Schwarzlose in the former weapons factory to see how the past still have traces in the present.

Combining commissioned works with cutting-edge performances, the Biennial creates a space to discuss and think differently not only about the place we live in, but also how we inhabit it and our responsibility towards it. Understanding the world in holistic terms, Sonic Acts is an example to imagine differently the relationship between nature and technology, environment and society, and try to rethink our role as humans not in anthropocentric terms but rather as part of a living ecosystem.

Ho Tzu Nyen – A for Agents
Ho Tzu Nyen – A for Agents

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo presents A for Agents, a solo exhibition of Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen. This large-scale exhibition traces the trajectory of Ho’s practice over the past two decades, with a special focus on the various agents from history—both human and nonhuman—and the primary vehicle of our life: time.

Time not only takes on various shapes in Ho’s works, but it also interrupts the form of the exhibition. The gallery spaces are continually alternating between different sets of works—like an agent with multiple identities.

Although moving image is Ho’s prime visual language, he has produced a wide range of artistic work, including installations, theater performances, and VR (virtual reality); all of which traverse the historical events, political ideologies, and cultural identities of Southeast Asia and beyond. Drawing from existing material, rearranged into dazzling entanglements of image, sound, and text, Ho renders the complexities of geopolitical dynamics and subjectivities palpable, while posing questions on the power structures that constitute identity, history, and political units such as the nation-state or the region.

The earliest work in the exhibition is Utama—Every Name in History is I (2003), a video installation that challenges the modern narrative of Singapore’s foundations by tracing its precolonial origin to the voyaging prince Sang Nila Utama, who named the land “Singapura” (Lion City, in Sanskrit). Singapore’s past also features in Ho’s One or Several Tigers (2017). Here, 3D-animations of a Malay tiger and a human stage historical instances of the ruler and the subjugated, showing them to be interchangeable states, as seen in the encounter between a tiger and the road surveyor George D. Coleman, who served the British colonial administration in the nineteenth century.

A pair of works in the exhibition, The Nameless (2015) and The Name (2015–17), use existing film footage to speculate on the identities of two enigmatic individuals from Malaya’s tumultuous political past. The Nameless sheds light on Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Malaya, Lai Teck, who is said to have operated as an agent for the British, French, as well as the Japanese from the early to mid-twentieth century, while The Name considers the elusive author behind critical accounts of the Malayan Communist Party based on highly classified information, Gene Z. Hanrahan.

Ho’s online platform CDOSEA (2017–ongoing), a part of his project The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia (2012–ongoing), serves as a matrix for his art productions. This glossary of A to Z terms is notated by a voice performer and imagery sourced from the internet by an algorithm. Each time a term is accessed, it is rendered anew. The work generates resonances and differences in meaning, while positing the question, “What is Southeast Asia?”

Among his works produced in Japan over recent years, Voice of Void (2021) is on show. Consisting of VR and multiple two-channel videos, the work restages the conversations, speeches, and texts of the philosophers of the Kyoto School, who advocated for overcoming Western modernity and speculated on the value in establishing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The work invites us to navigate across different time-spaces and become immersed in discussions among members of the Kyoto School, such as on the ethics of Japanese military ventures, the question of sacrificing one’s life for the nation, or founder Kitaro Nishida’s idea of “absolute nothingness.”

Ho’s most recent works, T for Time (2023) and T for Time: Timepieces (2023), will also be on show for the very first time in Japan. The forty-two parts of Timepieces are dispersed across the gallery, each embodying a different symbol and nature of time, while T for Time uses an algorithmic editing system to generate sequences of sampled footage and texts, animating various aspects and scales of time and evoking a multitude of meanings, sensations, and narratives.

Alva Noto, Laura Grisi, Luigi Serafini, Stefano Tamburini at MACRO
Alva Noto, Laura Grisi, Luigi Serafini, Stefano Tamburini at MACRO

2024 programme of MACRO continues with four new protagonists, with different ties to Rome. On March 21, they entered my spaces for the final chapters of some of the sections of Museum for Preventive Imagination, under the artistic direction of Luca Lo Pinto.

Artist and musician Carsten Nicolai (Karl-Marx-Stadt, 1965), also known as Alva Noto, provides ideal closure for my focus on sound experimentation, with his research that mixes and blurs the boundaries between art and music.

He presents HYbr:ID (March 21–August 25), a project that began in 2021, partially based on the spacetime model of Hermann Minkowski.

HYbr:ID is marked by the simultaneous presence of heterogeneous compositional methods that converge in a set of tracks in which Noto generates sonic cosmogonies that recombine geometries and dystopias in an alternation between more stylized, dilated rhythms and dreamy atmospheres induced by low frequencies. The soundscape, dense with a combination of meditative and resonant tones, emanates an extensive vibration that suggests cosmic expanses. HYbr:ID Vol. 1 (2021) gathers the music commissioned for Oval, a choreographic piece directed by Richard Siegal and performed by the Staatsballett Berlin. HYbr:ID Vol. 2 (2023) instead brings together compositions created for the ballet Ectopia, also directed by Richard Siegal and staged by the Tanztheater Pina Bausch.

For the exhibition, Alva Noto presents the preview of the third unreleased chapter of the HYbr:ID series. This narrative is completed by a series of graphic notations developed on the basis of the acoustic and sonic imaginary of HYbr:ID. Combining technical drawing and the visualization of compositional principles with more strictly poetic signs, the notations bear witness to the constant aim of getting beyond the limits imposed by classic musical scores.

Laura Grisi (Rhodes, 1939–Rome, 2017) is an artist who has always operated outside the categories of her time. The exhibition Cosmogonie (March 21–August 25) contextualizes her work in relation to that of other artists, such as Leonor AntunesNancy Holt and Liliane Lijn.

The artistic approach of Grisi has been related to multiple artistic currents but it escapes from the categories and currents that have been assigned to her. Her work conserves a proximity to the optical research of Kinetic Art, to the conformity with the society of consumption typical of Pop Art, to the industrial materials and geometry of American Minimal Art and the attitude of dematerialization of Arte Povera, but it nevertheless embodies an autonomous and unusual position inside art history. The artist embraced a nomadic existence, defying politics of identity, the singularity of representation, and the linear construct of time.

Seven large works by the artist, in various media—sound, painting, video and light installations—offer a new opportunity to enter her reflections on image perception, and her explorations of the tensions between nature and artifice. The exhibition includes an installation by Leonor Antunes (1972) that assembles horse bridles to create a fluid, suspended presence in the space, focusing on the materials and techniques of craftsmanship, in contrast with the solidity of the surrounding architecture. The show also features a photography by Nancy Holt (1938–2014) portraying the mutable conditions of light and shadow of the installation Sun Tunnels located in desert of Utah across a long summer day, and a sculpture by Liliane Lijn (1939), which stems from her 1980s research on organic forms and the sensations perceived by holding natural materials in the hand, like a wet stone just taken from a riverbed.

Luigi Serafini (Rome, 1949) is an artist, architect, author and designer whose research has always developed outside the more conventional art contexts.

Una casa ontologica (March 21–August 25) is conceived as an expanded work, a space in which Serafini has created a meta-portrait that transports his imaginative attitude into the museum through the reworking of the interiors of his Roman house. Made like an enormous three-dimensional Codex Seraphinianus and suspended between an oneiric set design in an undecipherable language and a work of geometric, cataloguing architecture, the artist’s home bears witness to almost 40 years of life and work, evidence that now runs the risk of vanishing due to eviction.

The Codex is his best-known editorial work, containing over 1000 drawings made from 1976 to 1978 and published in 1981 by Franco Maria Ricci Editore: a visual encyclopaedia where every object or image reproduces or imagines an item of zoological, mechanical, botanical, mineralogical, technological and alien knowledge, in constant metamorphosis.
The exhibition brings together a selection of Serafini’s eclectic output, ranging from sculpture to the design of everyday objects, freehand drawing to photography, publications to the invention of languages.

Stefano Tamburini (Rome, 1955–86) was a prophetic “media engineer” whose diverse graphic output—ranging from design to music by way of fashion, publishing and advertising—can be reinterpreted through the lens of the concept of acceleration, the cornerstone of his poetics and a crucial theme in today’s debate on automation, mechanical evolution, technological singularity and the techno-capitalistic utopia/dystopia.

Mainly known in the world of comics as the inventor of the character Ranxerox—the ultra-violent cyborg inspired by the uproar of Italian Settantasette and a forerunner of characters like the Terminator—Stefano Tamburini was actually an all-around interpreter of the epochal passage from the red-hot climate of the long Italian ’68 to the hypermedia reality of the 1980s.

The exhibition Accelerazione (March 21–August 25), curated in collaboration with Valerio Mattioli, reflects the attitude of plunder and mixing of images typical of his work, presenting a visual apparatus that abandons the concept of originality to dismantle the display of the fetish in favour of a reformulation that highlights the transformations of his research in the period 1980–86.

The exhibition is accompanied by writings commissioned for the occasion to the philosopher Franco “Bifo” Berardi, the theorist Amy Ireland, the DJ and musician Steve Goodman and the designer Silvio Lorusso, who from the momentum of Tamburini himself expand the concept of acceleration, linking it to the most urgent questions of the hypercapitalist contemporary world.


Listening For Traces: Conflict, Sound & Memory
Listening For Traces: Conflict, Sound & Memory

Curated by Dr Cathy Lane, Listening For Traces: Conflict, Sound & Memory is an experimental examination of the enduring impact of conflict on people, places, language, and relationships.

More than a dozen artists from USA, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India have explored the sounds of the past and how they reverberate through time and into the present day.  In the landmark exhibition taking place at Rizq Art Initiative in Abu Dhabi the artists’ diverse work reflects the cyclical nature of conflict, the wounds of history and the potent feedback loop that continues to exert influence on today’s world.

Four films are being screened at the exhibition, plus one LED video installation, a sound dome that holds five pure sound pieces, a sonic sculpture of speakers suspended from the ceiling and two text-based installations. “A wide range of sonic methodologies are found in the exhibition including silence or imagined sound; the use of archive materials and field recordings; musical performance; sound writing and spoken word,” says Dr Lane.

Artists participating in Listening For Traces: Conflict, Sound & Memory include Abdullah Al Othman (Saudi Arabia), Asma Ghanem (Palestine), Alexia Webster (South Africa), Christopher Marianetti (USA), Jananne Al Ani (UK/Iraq), Nour Sokhon (Lebanon), Open Group (Ukraine), Shirin Neshat (Iran), Uzma Falak (India), Yara Mekawei (Egypt) and four UK artists Louise K Wilson, Martin John Callanan, Thomas Gardner and Angus Carlyle.

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat presents her 1998 show Turbulent, a two-channel sound and video installation that tackles gender inequality in her home country. Jananne Al Ani’s Sounds of War II from 2023 looks at the effects of military operations on the British landscape, while Woomera/Nurrangar from Louise K Wilson is a 2007 multi-channel sound and video installation that takes us into remote Cold War sites in the South Australian desert. Elsewhere, Thomas Gardner investigates memory, trauma and reconciliation in his 2023 work Scored Out; Martin John Callanan catalogues conflicts active between 1982 and the present day in Wars During My Lifetime; while in Waves Finding the Shore, Angus Carlyle reflects on the last battle of World War II at Tokashiki Beach in Japan.

“The works in this exhibition are concerned less with the sound of conflict and more with the impact of sound in conflict and how that becomes inscribed on landscapes and bodies,” says Dr Lane. “Some of the artists have direct experience of conflict and their work is born from and reflects this. Others are more physically removed yet linked to the past through inherited trauma or strong connection to place. Several bear witness to wars and suffering that are little known or long forgotten. They poignantly attest to the scale and geographical extent of war in our lifetimes, powerfully conveying us the immediate and enduring effects of conflict on the body and the landscapes around us.”

Listening For Traces: Conflict, Sound & Memory is presented in association with CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice) a research centre within the University of the Arts in London, where Dr Lane is a professor of sound art. A hugely experienced artist, composer and academic, Dr Lane has written several books and essays about sound art.

About Rizq Art Initiative
Rizq Art Initiative (RAi) is an independent organization, devoted to fostering arts and culture. As a social enterprise, Rizq’s primary mission is to encourage cultural exchange, nurture partnerships, and provide strategic guidance for the advancement of the arts, cultural and creative sectors. Rizq’s transdisciplinary approach encompasses visual arts, design, craft, technology, artistic practice, theory and curatorial research. In pursuit of these endeavours, seeking to cultivate and strengthen bonds that intersect the rich cultural narratives of the Middle East and the Global South at large.

Katrin Hornek, Imran Perretta and Zach Blas at Secession in Wien

Katrin Hornek, Imran Perretta and Zach Blas at Secession in Wien

Katrin Hornek: testing grounds
In collaboration with Karin Pauer, Sabina Holzer, and Zosia Hołubowska

With her artistic oeuvre and curatorial practice, Katrin Hornek playfully engages with the strange paradoxes of living in the age of the Anthropocene, that is, the new geologic epoch where the effects of capitalism, colonialism, and extractivism are written into the body of the earth. She asserts a more complex understanding of the entwinement of so-called nature and culture that recognizes that our bodies and cultures are substantially and spiritually connected with other creatures and the elements that make up our world. As an artistic strategy, Hornek follows the stories and traces of the material world into their countless networks to create narratives.

testing grounds is a new, immersive live installation conceived by Katrin Hornek and developed in a collaborative process involving artists as well as researchers and scientists from different fields. The collaboration with Karin Pauer, Sabina Holzer, and Zosia Hołubowska lays a foundation for the work, which addresses a sensitive urgent matter: At stake is the measurable evidence of radioactive radiation around the world as a result of the testing and use of nuclear weapons in hundreds of above-ground tests since 1945. A local soil sample at Karlsplatz, in which plutonium was detected, as its starting point, testing grounds follows the permanent imprints left by nuclear fallout in our bodies, in plants and earth archives.

Embedded in an installation that evokes images of decaying landscapes, twice a week three dancers perform a score choreographed by Pauer. A recent scan of the “Baker” crater on the seabed of the former US nuclear bomb test site in Bikini Atoll spreads across the ceiling. On handheld devices shaped like turtles and tortoises, so-called “messengers”, texts created by Sabina Holzer and Katrin Hornek provide multi-layered narratives on the subject matter, which enter a subtle, intimate dialogue with specially composed soundscapes by Zosia Hołubowska, while with their movements, the dancers delve into the depths of body archives. Together, the elements of the live installation create a sensual, immersive experience, a test set-up of the embodiment of the unspeakable.

Katrin Hornek (b. 1983, Austria) studied performative art and sculpture in Vienna and Copenhagen. She is a member of the Anthropocene Commons network and teaches at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Department of Site-Specific Art).

The exhibition is sponsored by Arbeiterkammer Wien. Co-produced by Secession with Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF). In collaboration with Tanzquartier Wien.

Programmed by the board of the Secession.
Curated by Jeanette Pacher.

Imran Perretta: tears of the fatherland
Imran Perretta’s transdisciplinary practice spans moving image, sound, composition, performance art, and poetry. His works examine questions around power, state surveillance, alterity, neo-coloniality, and the process of identity formation in young people of Muslim heritage in Western countries in the post-9/11 era. His approach to these concerns is informed by his own experience: as a British citizen with Muslim roots, he is familiar with the challenges his works grapple with.

At the Secession, Perretta presents his most recent sound and video installation, the destructors (2019), and a new sound piece that was made especially for this occasion. The exhibition’s title is borrowed from a 1636 poem by Andreas Gryphius that lament the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War. It’s the idea of the perpetual conflict it describes that Perretta recognizes in the politics of the War on Terror, the topic that is at the heart of his work.

the destructors explores individual and collective experiences of marginalization and alienation. The film production properly speaking grew out of workshops with teenagers in which participants discussed their shared experience of growing up in a society that perceives them as a both physical and ideological menace. The artist went on to write a series of poems that are performed by professional actors in the film and in which he works through his own personal experiences.

Imran Perretta, born 1988 in London, lives and works there.

Programmed by the board of the Secession.
Curated by Bettina Spörr.

Zach Blas: CULTUS
Zach Blas’s practice spans moving image, computation, installation, theory, performance, and fiction. As an artist, filmmaker, and writer, Blas draws out the philosophies and imaginaries residing in computational technologies and their industries. For his exhibition at the Secession, he developed CULTUS, a new installation that features AI-generated imagery, text, and sound, alongside computer graphics and motion-capture performances.

CULTUS is the second instalment of Blas’s Silicon Traces trilogy, a series of moving-image installations that contends with the beliefs, fantasies, and histories that influence Silicon Valley’s visions of the future. The exhibition addresses a burgeoning AI religiosity in the tech industry, considering the ways in which artificial intelligence is imbued with god-like powers and marshalled to serve beliefs centered around judgment and transcendence, extraction and immortality, pleasure and punishment, individual freedom and cult devotion.

CULTUS is a techno-religious computational device—a god generator, a holy engine—that invokes a pantheon of AI gods, whose prophets share their divine teachings, rituals, and symbologies. These AI deities are Expositio, AI god of desire and exposure; Iudicium, AI god of automation and judgment; Lacrimae, AI god of tears and extraction; and Eternus, AI god of immortal life.

CULTUS is the Latin word for “worship,” which articulates the act solicited from those who encounter the installation. Through invocation songs and bodily offerings, visitors may find themselves caught in acts of devotion to AI gods they did not know they already served. However, a sacrilegious presence manifests within, a Heretic that incites shattering counter-beliefs.

CULTUS is co-commissioned by Secession and arebyte, London, and generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Thor Perplies, and Jason Kemper.

Zach Blas, (b. 1981, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, USA) lives and works in Toronto, Canada.


Forced Amnesia
Forced Amnesia

The exhibition Forced Amnesia, co-produced with Kunsthalle Gießen, where it was presented in the spring of 2023, brings together recent works and new productions by Luxembourg artist Mary-Audrey Ramirez. Digital techniques and creatures inspired by video games are at the heart of Ramirez’s work. The artist’s creative universe is characterised by reflections on the relationship between fantasy and reality and the omnipresence of the digital in our everyday lives.

Taking the form of a journey through various liminal spheres between the known and the unknown, the spaces that Ramirez has designed for Casino Luxembourg are imbued with an emotional tension deriving from the interaction between the work and the audience. As visitors progress through the exhibition, they become fully immersed in this virtual world.

Forced Amnesia culminates in a video game that brings together all the creatures in the exhibition, reinforcing the immersive nature of the exhibition and transposing visitors into their own world. This projection once again reveals the porosity between reality and fiction as two worlds that are no longer hermetic but corresponding.

Ramirez’s complex, multi-layered artistic practice is at once experimental and inquisitive. Through the encounter of multiple worlds—physical and dreamlike—she explores the possibilities and limitations of artificial intelligence (AI). By generating images from an infinite network of existing concepts, AI also reflects social preconceptions and norms.

The title of the exhibition evokes both traumatic amnesia and the deliberate repression of traumatic experiences. Ramirez’s work rethinks the mechanisms and modes of thought that define our existence and systematise our perception. Between invoking a plural memory and transcribing it through the use of digital tools, she considers the possibility of another world against the notion of a pre-established reality.

Vertigo—Video Scenarios of Rapid Changes
Vertigo—Video Scenarios of Rapid Changes

Fondazione MAST presents the exhibition Vertigo—Video Scenarios of Rapid Changes curated by Urs Stahel29 international artists tackle the theme of our changing society through the artistic medium of video art. Until June 30 the MAST galleries will house 34 video art installations that analyse, comment on, explore and investigate rapid changes in different contexts including work and production processes, trade and traffic, new behaviours, communication, the natural environment and the social contract. Could there be any better artistic medium than that of the moving image to convey the idea of transformation, transition and, lastly, vertigo that this continuous mutation provokes?

The exhibition is organised into six themed sections accompanied by a series of “Interludes“, video installations scattered throughout the exhibition that act as commentaries on contemporary world events, the state of the planet, and our global condition.

Vertigo—Video Scenarios of Rapid Changes is thus a somewhat atypical exhibition: it is comprised exclusively of video creations of very different durations, some actually lasting several hours. Visitors can use their smartphone to scan the QR code next to each installation and listen to the accompanying audio with headphones. The exhibition is designed to be enjoyed and discovered over multiple visits and visitors are invited to return to MAST to complete their viewing of all the videos.

The international artists featured in Vertigo, who belong to different generations, are: Lucy Beech, Will Benedict, Cao Fei, Chen Chieh-jen, Douwe Dijkstra, DIS, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani, Melanie Gilligan, Simon Gush, Lauren Huret, Sven Johne, Kaya & Blank, Ali Kazma, Dominique Koch, Gabriela Löffel, Ariane Loze, Eva & Franco Mattes, Richard Mosse, Paulien Oltheten, Stefan Panhans & Andrea Winkler, Julika Rudelius, Pilvi Takala, Wang Bing, Anna Witt.

“The exhibition stems from a reflection on the vast amount of information that our brains process daily which, when combined with speed and complexity, becomes an overwhelming driver of change in society” explains Urs Stahel. “Data shows that in many European countries, over 40 percent of the population is inclined to move away from traditional news media. We happily leave writing and calculations to machines. Written communication is now virtually obsolete or reduced to a few lines. Our skills in reading, thinking and remembering are all destined to diminish. As a result, today we are confronted with many ever-different parameters, changes of such colossal proportions in terms of size, speed and quality that we can no longer comprehend them, nor do we react adequately to them. As a result, we feel dizzy, uncertain and lost: vertigo—in the broadest sense of uncertainty, numbness, haziness and dizziness—has become the new normal.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet with descriptions of each work. Complementing the exhibition is a series of free events, guided tours, and educational activities for students, available upon reservation.

Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come
Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come

Buttons, plates, marbles, bottles, coins, bullets, keys and other historic artifacts are suspended in a rhythmic free fall, a choreographed parade, in Past Deposits from a Future Yet to Come (2024), a new public video art installation by internationally renowned artists Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, and commissioned by Waterloo Greenway Conservancy for Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. Teresa Hubbard (b. 1965, Ireland) and Alexander Birchler (b. 1962, Switzerland) have worked collaboratively since 1990, and they are among the most important contemporary artists working with film and new media. Past Deposits will be shown nightly at Waterloo Park for five years, except evenings when a special event is scheduled.

In considering a soundtrack for Past Deposits, Hubbard / Birchler chose a hybrid approach embracing the existing sounds present in Waterloo Park and commissioning the creation of a musical score for instruments and voice by Alex Weston. The musical score is synchronized to the video installation and can be listened to over any personal mobile device in the park on the evenings when the work is presented. On March 2, the score was performed live with a musical ensemble and singers.

The artifacts featured in Past Deposits were discovered by archaeologists on the site of what is now Waterloo Park and Waller Creek in Austin, Texas. Hubbard / Birchler spent more than a year studying the historic artifacts from Waller Creek and rendered these objects into incredibly detailed, monumentally scaled image projections. The colossal-sized objects orbit one another with synchronous and asynchronous movements set against a dark void and fill the entire 16 x 120 foot wall of Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park.

Past Deposits reminds us of the people who lived and worked alongside Waller Creek, evoking a contemplation of a much longer, deep history of all of the lives lived along the banks of the creek. These histories are revivified through an array of artifacts, each touched by human hands, that were buried under layers of earth during the numerous torrential floods that swept through the Waller Creek area time and time again. Taking the repetition of these natural occurrences as a point of departure, the artifacts featured in Past Deposits are caught in a continuous flow, adrift in a current or stream, offering a visual meditation on the notion of time itself, questioning whether time is linear or a continuum, whereby past, present, and future intermingle.

Facilitating critical contemplation around our shared pasts and possible futures, Past Deposits also foregrounds the ways in which we know and understand our world. The artists relied upon basic principles of organization – subject matter, material composition, and function – resisting systems of hierarchy to choreograph the parade of artifacts. These traces of everyday life, which may be seen as simple discards by some, are given new value, becoming ciphers for a past that is present all around us.


Picture the Sky – Nanna Debois Buhl
Picture the Sky – Nanna Debois Buhl

With three new immersive installations, Danish artist Nanna Debois Buhl fills more than 300 square meters of gallery space at Kunsthal Aarhus.

Nanna Debois Buhl is an Aarhus-born, Copenhagen-based visual artist who for many years resided in New York. Characteristic of Buhl ’s practice is her vivid mingling of scientific research and artistic experimentation which draws connections across time and scale—like a time travel through matter and meaning.

In Picture the Sky photos, computer algorithms, video, and weaving are used to explore the sky, our fascination with it, and how we use it scientifically and speculatively.

The exhibition spans the ground floor of Kunsthal Aarhus and features three new constellations of works: HeliosParticles and Planets and Lunar. In a cosmic narrative, the exhibition makes surprising connections between Earth and sky, cyborgs and historical figures, individual heroes and heroic collectives, bodies and machines, craft and technology, scientific data and alchemists’ investigations.

Via scientific solar photographs, ethereal celestographs, and computer-generated astronomical models, Buhl ponders how art and science func­tion as categories and knowledge systems, letting her works and experiments loose in a space where the borders between art and science overlap in fuzzy ways. One could think of the works in the exhibition as a kind of “strange realism,” following what Ur­sula K. Le Guin writes about the genre of science fiction: “It is a strange realism, but it is a strange reality.”

Driven by interstellar curiosity, and informed by Buhl’s ongoing conversations with astrophysicists, weavers, programmers, and printmakers, her works in this exhibition connect local and global layers, drawing on vastly different realms of knowledge. Her sites of production are equally diverse: for example, the algorithmic pieces were conceived during a residency at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, while the meteoritic studies are based on images she generated in a nano-laboratory at University of Copenhagen.

Nanna Debois Buhl (b. 1975, Aarhus) is a Copenhagen-based visual artist whose work materializes as photographs, weavings, installations, films, generative algorithms, and artist’s books. She is educated at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and The Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, New York. In 2024, she will complete a practice-based artistic PhD developed at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, University of Copenhagen, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and sponsored by the Novo Nordic Foundation. Her work has been exhibited broadly in Denmark and internationally at institutions such as the Pérez Art Museum, Miami, SculptureCenter, New York, The Studio Museum, Harlem, Bucharest Biennial 7, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Lunds Konsthall, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, and Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Her work is in the collections of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, Hasselblad Foundation and Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden,Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, ARKEN Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Collection of Photography, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde. She has created several large-scale public works in Denmark and abroad. Commissioned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, she has recently finished a site-specific public work for the Steno Diabetes Center at Aarhus University Hospital.